Seminole Gambling Compact Shot Down Unanimously

Crist's hard negotiated Seminole Gambling Compact was shot down by a 17-0 vote in a House committee.

Over the past two years Florida governor, Charlie Crist, has worked hard to negotiate a deal with the Seminole Indian Tribe that would allow expanded gambling at seven Seminole casinos, while demanding no other state gambling expansions. In return, Florida was set to receive more than $150 million annually.

Today, a House committee unanimously voted down the final contract, 17-0.

Now, the Seminole Tribe is set to bring their arguments to the Federal government, and there are mixed emotions about the possible decisions that will be made there.

Governor Crist, however, is not giving up hope on making a deal before the end of this legislative session. Earlier today he issued this statement:

“We obviously have a long way to go before the end of session, so there is plenty of time for the Florida Legislature to approve a plan that would direct billions of dollars to Florida schools for years to come.

“We all agree that Florida’s students and teachers must be a top priority, and that the education of our future workforce is essential to Florida’s economic future. By keeping those priorities in mind, I am confident the Legislature will see the benefits of approving a compact with the Seminole Tribe.”

However, opponents of the compact changed their stance in November as to why they disapprove of the compact. It was once a moral issue, but since has changed to a monetary one.

Legislatures now believe that much more money than promised by the Seminole Indian Tribe could be made by Florida annually if they were to allow expanded gambling at state pari-mutuels and jai-alais. They now say, “It is up to the voters to decide.”

Bill Galvano, the chairman of the Select Committee on Seminole Indian Compact Review, urged members not to pass the compact and they followed his suggestion.

The Seminoles said in a release that they were still willing to work with Florida, as did Crist and Galvano. But Galvano believes it will be difficult to continue negotiations while the Seminoles offer blackjack without the compact that would allow them to do so.

Rumors have it that a cease and desist order for all Seminole blackjack tables could be ordered by the end of the month. For now, at least, the blackjack tables are live, and thriving.

Stay tuned to Casino Pulse as we report further developments on this heated story.

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